Last week, news of Stephen Fry's attempted suicide thrust male depression into the spotlight.
It therefore seems apt that this year's Men's Health Week focusses on male depression and tackling the taboos of a seldom talked about issue.
It is estimated by the Men's Health Forum that as many as one in 10 men will suffer from depression during their lifetime. Patient.co.uk estimates that the average length of an episode of depression is six to eight months. But many remain reluctant to seek help or admit that they have a problem.
"Seeking help is often considered a sign of weakness," says Caroline Carr, who founded mypartnerisdepressed.com after living for months with her husband's depression, told HuffPost UK Lifestyle.
"It's odd," she added. "Because everyone will be affected by depression or anxiety at some point in their lifetime -- either directly or through a loved one or work colleague."
She says that feelings of depression or anxiety are completely natural.
"They are coping mechanisms designed to help us deal with difficult or overwhelming situations," she said. "The problems arise when the dark clouds do not lift."
HuffPost UK Lifestyle spoke to Amelia Mustapha, Founding Member of the European Depression Association, to find out some typical signs of depression.
"People may find it hard to get out of bed in the morning, going to work seems pointless and they are no longer able to see the pleasure in the things they once found enjoyable – feelings that without treatment can drag on for weeks, months and even years,” she explained.
Other signs of depression include:
- Continuous low mood
- Low self-esteem
- Irritable and intolerant of others
- Lack of motivation
- Lack of energy or interest in sex
- Changes in appetite or weight
- Neglecting your hobbies and interest
- Avoiding contact with family and friends
- Unexplained aches and pains
Caroline, who is also a life and laughter coach, says it is important not to blame yourself when a partner is depressed.
"I found myself asking what I had done to trigger this change," she told HuffPost UK Lifestyle. "But in reality his depression had been building for months."
She revealed that her husband's mood changed when the family moved home -- from Somerset to Dorset.
"At first he was withdrawn and upset," she revealed. "But as his depression progressed he became hostile and angry towards me."
Caroline explains that when helping a loved one it is important to remain objective and encourage them to seek help.
For more information and resources on male depression please visit www.feeling-blue.co.uk